Most students, at one point or another, have found themselves overworking for an exam and still not doing well. Why is this? Students tend to work inefficiently. We can work extremely hard, but perhaps in the wrong way. For instance, you can stay up all night reading your chemistry textbook or rewriting all of your notes without actually learning or retaining any information. I also struggled with this my freshman year of high school resulting in an extremely poor GPA and a motivation to turn things around.
My newfound motivation resulted in a new motto for my life: work smart, not hard. Unlike the phrase suggests, I was still working hard, but in a way that was more effective for me. Believe it or not, making flashcards and actually taking notes helped me do better on assessments. Most importantly, I would write a daily schedule indicating what I had to do that day and when. Instead of staying up one night to cram for a test, I began to study every day in advance and just review on the night before.
I used every spare minute I had doing work and getting ahead, so when I wanted to, I could go out without falling behind. I even felt better about the idea of studying in general; I didn't feel like I was stuDYING as much as before.
My method of work smart, not hard is effective for me, but it may or may not apply to you. The key to work smart, not hard is finding study techniques and a schedule that works for you. It will definitely take many attempts at different studying habits and a great deal of effort, but you will find it. Everyone has different needs and methods of learning. Once you discover what is right for you, you'll see yourself doing better and maybe even learning a thing or two.